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January 7, 2011
A professional US Soccer team could be picking some of its star players in Henry County this weekend.

FC New York will be holding a tryout at the Smith River Sports Complex. Hundreds submitted tapes, but only 67 were chosen to compete.

As soccer players convene on this field they'll be looking to secure a spot on FC New York's pro roster.

"I think it's a great opportunity for not only soccer lovers, but if you were interested in athletics at all to come out and see some great talent on the field," said Billy Russo, Director of Operations at the Smith River Sports Complex.

The contenders hail from around the globe.

"They're coming from all over, Brazil, Belgium, France, Italy, Argentina," said Russo. "They're coming from pretty much all- all over the world. "

And when these folks shoot, hard hit Martinsville and Henry County score.

"We get a tremendous amount of traffic through the hotel that we normally wouldn't have," said Tammy Bowles, with the Quality Inn Dutch Inn Hotel and Convention Center.

They're not just staying at hotels, or playing on the fields.

"They're spending money in the restaurants, they're going shopping," said Bowles.

Since its opening, the Smith River Complex has boasted a similar impact.

"Over the past 6-8 months we've actually had a $400,000 economic impact on the area," said Russo.

"We're seeing people that we would never see before. I mean it's bringing in folks from everywhere and it's just exposing us to a broader range of tourism," added Bowles. "I mean it's just great."

Because when folks come to play at the Smith River Sports Complex, officials hope they'll come back to play- and pay- in the area too.

The players will also play a showcase game of soccer at the end of the tryouts. That's Saturday at 5:00pm. You can buy tickets at the field, but if you wear your club jersey, you get in free.